Do you exercise regularly?
I try to but the word regularly is usually replaced with the word sporadic. Sporadic regularity. That’s the way. So, any time I do exercise I feel the stress of the work out manifested as soreness in my muscles and joints. I suppose it’s a normal feeling and typically over a few days it subsides. I do notice that over time my muscles start to memorize the repetitive activity and start to adapt to the level of stress I exert on them.
Standard operating procedure.
This past weekend we took a trip up to the cottage to get away from the city, enjoy the Queen’s holiday and spend some time with family. The previous few weeks have been quite busy, a lot of late nights some working some socializing and as a result I was very tired when we arrived at the cottage. Tired is a place I’ve been before and can normally work through the fatigue. No problem. Well, my body took over this time and I was down for the count, quite literally. I don’t think I’ve slept that much in months and its funny how simply ignored that basic need can just turn you into a Sleeping Beauty (er…well…without the beauty part, I suppose).
Unlike my attempts at regular exercise the intense concentrated activity around the past few weeks is not part of my normal routine.
Stress is a funning thing. If I was going to be dramatic I would say it’s kind of like a silent killer.
Recognizing stress is a challenge for most of us. It doesn’t seem like you are actually doing any damage to your body but after the past weekend I do understand how my body responds to my recent and particular type of stress; an acute lack of sleep. It’s not like I haven’t felt or recognized it before and thought with a little training and a little mental toughness I could get it to a point where I could manage it without affecting my performance.
Apparently not so.
Sure, if you have unlimited resources, a very finely tuned diet and a regimented training program you can achieve virtually anything physically for a period of time. For the average person though a prolonged imbalance in physical or mental stress is certainly going to lead to an eventual decline in performance. Every doctor will tell you that exercise and rest are essential to keeping ourselves healthy and the key is to try to maintain a healthy balance between the two.
So, do I feel better after catching up on my sleep?
Sure do but I also know that my busy life is going to catch up with me again. Is it good enough to recharge your batteries once a month or do we need a more regular routine or at least a catalyst to ensure we don’t burn out? Rhetorical yes but if I am asking myself this question then the chances are that some of you out there should be doing the same or are doing the same.
What was it that I said near the beginning of this piece? The silent killer? Well, it is isn’t it? We all push ourselves and usually don’t realize the impact until much later.
So, what’s one thing we can do better to battle this silent killer?
Delegation. No, I can’t delegate staying out late at night with friends or my own exercise routine but I know that the next project, deadline, problem or change is going to come my way very soon. So, just like training my body I will need to accept what comes at me and instead of taking it all on myself delegate what makes sense. The DIY syndrome is how I got there in the first place. Delegation, in itself, will help me to manage my work load better and avoid continually burning the candle at both ends. It will help me to maintain my optimal fighting weight so to speak.
Performance is funny that way and it relates itself directly to the ebb and flow of stress in our lives. Without the ability to delegate or diffuse some of what comes at you simply leaves you in the same position I was in at the beginning of this little story; so tired that the only alternative was hours of prolonged sleep. Most of the daily stress in our lives is not physical but we all know it manifests itself physically and as a result affects us and those around us who care for our well being. It greatly affects our ability to perform effectively.
Some of you may not feel like you have the ability to delegate. We are all in the same place my friends. Even the proverbial CEO is in the same place. There are always things in your life that you cannot get someone else to do and there are those things that you can. It’s really a matter of choice. You need to be able to choose to let things go. Watch them go. Bye bye. Toodles. It’s really hard, huh?
Doesn’t delegation just add more stress to my life?
It’s simpler just to do it yourself and know it got done right and that it’s actually done. Right? It’s a pretty common mantra in cubicle land.
Well, you could look at it this way too.
If you were able to delegate a task to someone else they would get a chance to learn from you and you would have trained someone to do something new. In the future, this may leave you with more time to focus on the tasks that are actually important to you. Is the investment worth it? It certainly seems like it is to me?
Sure, there are a lot of routine tasks that we all do and the case for sharing those is even more relevant. Why do everything yourself? It really comes back to some of the things we write about here on a regular basis; building trust, having an inclusionary attitude and building the ability to communicate well and effectively.
Delegating work is a challenging task in and of itself.
Delegation is not pushing work to another individual and forgetting that it ever existed. When we delegate we need to communicate the requirements, we need to check with our team to ensure they are being successful and we need to follow up to ensure our team has the tools and resources to complete the tasks successfully. We need to be the guide. It will take a bit of time but it is certainly worth the investment. It beats the burn out that ensues when it’s all on you.
Think about the times that it has gone horribly wrong. What happened?
- Did you pick the wrong person?
- Did you explain the task well?
- Did you check in to see how it was going?
- Did you follow up to ensure it was completed?
- Did you correct course?
These are all investments that you need to make for your future and the future of your team. That’s what it’s all about; the investment. Without it we never grow and without it we get to the point of no return. We lose the ability to become effective. The stress of doing it all yourself is replaced with the short term stress of teaching others how to achieve success. Once they are on their way you can refocus on the work that you need to get done and thereby getting more time to focus on the things that have meaning in your life. A topic for another day.
Let’s face it, you want to learn more, develop new skills and find work that is satisfying, right? So does your team! That’s the beauty of effective delegation.
If you don’t believe me, take the lesson from Sleeping Beauty and her helpers. She didn’t do it all by herself either, did she?
- Do you get enough rest?
- Does the DIY bug have a hold on you?
- What are the ways to share your work more effectively?